Category Archives: Home Repair and News

Making Kitchen Appliances Senior-Friendly For Aging in Place

Making Kitchen Appliances Senior-Friendly For Aging in PlaceMaking your kitchen senior-friendly does not always require a costly kitchen remodel, or even buying new appliances, it can simply mean repositioning or adding accessories to appliances already there.  Here are some tips from, shared by Accessible Construction, Inc.  that we thought were especially helpful.


  • Choose a counter-top microwave, versus one over-the-range for easier handling of food.
  • Clear counter space right next to the microwave so hot food can be easily moved from the microwave to the counter.

Stoves and Ranges

Add an automatic shut-off device or stove monitoring device to the range or stove. This device can prevent accidental fires by turning off the stove burner or oven when it senses that it’s been left unattended. Most of these devices are made for electric ranges only. Some of these devices can be as easy to install as adding a sensor to the front of the stove.


The article suggests choosing a side-by-side refrigerator model to make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to access both the fresh food compartment and freezer.

Appliance Shopping

If you are planning on purchasing more senior-friendly appliances, the article suggests choosing a range with a hot indicator light to warn against touching a hot burner.

Induction ranges are another appropriate choice for the elderly as they use electromagnetism to generate heat, instead of an open flame or coil. Induction also does not heat the surrounding cooking area, making it a safer choice.

If purchasing a new microwave, stay away from over-the-range models to avoid lifting as an older person might not have the upper body strength or mobility to raise and lower items.

Choose a refrigerator with good inside lighting and storage on the door which makes it easier to find items. Lighted in-door water and ice dispensers are also helpful. Again, a side-side refrigerator with a long and easy-to-grasp handle is a good choice.

Get more advice from about choosing senior-friendly kitchen appliances.

Deciding whether to fix or ditch your broken appliance

WhentoRepairorreplaceyourapplianceMaybe your oven is not heating up as quickly as it used to, or your dishwasher stopped working. How do you know when to repair or replace your appliance? Here are some factors that will help you decide.

Research your repair

Before calling the repairman, use the internet to try to figure out what could be wrong with your appliance. It might be a small fix, or even just a matter of cleaning your appliance, or a part on your appliance — something you can do yourself. Also consult your appliance’s owner’s manual for things like fault code displays and solutions to common problems. If you no longer have your owner’s manual, use your appliance’s model number to find a digital copy online.

Some repair jobs are very simple, Continue reading

Maintain your home appliances with these tips

Cleaning and caring for your appliances not only helps them look and smell nice, it allows them to run more efficiently, use less energy and save you money. Follow these maintenance and cleaning  tips to help keep your appliances running smoothly.


Clean the condenser coils and fan on the rear or bottom of your refrigerator. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a condenser coil cleaning brush.

Check and clean the gasket of your refrigerator using warm soapy water. Make sure the seal is free from cracks and is tight fitting. A loose or cracking gasket allows cold air to escape from your fridge and costs you money. If the gasket seal on your fridge is sagging, replace it with a new refrigerator gasket.

Appliance care tips

Check and clean the gasket of your refrigerator using warm soapy water.

If your freezer door is no longer closing on its own, replace the hinge’s cam riser.
Oven and stove top

Clean your oven by placing a bowl of non-sudsy ammonia on a cookie sheet and leaving it in a cold oven overnight. The fumes from the ammonia will help soften up any baked-on gunk or spills. Be sure to open a window and step back while opening your oven door to avoid the fumes from the ammonia. Use a non-abrasive damp sponge to clean the inside of your oven.

Mix up and spray on a mixture or water and vinegar to clean your oven’s door. A crumpled up newspaper makes for a streak-free shine when drying.

Check the seal of your oven door and replace the gasket if it’s broken, torn or otherwise deformed. A tight seal keeps heat inside your oven and allows food to cook quickly and evenly.

Remove and clean stove-top drip pans with warm soapy water, or replace them if damaged.

Clothes Dryer

Remove and clean the clothes dryer lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Unplug the appliance and detach the exhaust venting from the back of the clothes dryer (usually it is attached by a clamp) and clean out any lint inside the duct work and in the machine. You can use your vacuum attachments to do this, or use a clothes dryer lint brush.

Clogged ducts and vents not only make your dryer work harder to clean your clothes, it can lead to a fire.  Dirty, clogged ducts are the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Washing Machine

Regularly clean your washing machine. High efficiency front-loading washers are especially prone to mold and mildew smells due to being tightly sealed and just their design in general. Using a specialized HE cleaner, like Affresh Washer Cleaner can help eliminate odors.

Check your washer hoses for any cracks or leakage. Even if you do not see any external leaks or cracks, you could have an internal clog. Replace appliance hoses every five years for optimal performance and to avoid problems.


Clean the dishwasher trap located below the bottom spray arm. Lots of food and debris (and sometimes broken glass, so be careful!) accumulate here. If removable, remove the trap and rinse out in the sink before replacing it.

Remove the utensil basket and wipe down with a cloth to remove any debris that might get stuck to it.

Remove and clean the spray arms to make sure that the holes are not plugged up with debris.

Use a cleaner like Affresh Dishwasher cleaner to remove odors and mineral deposits in your appliance.

Towel tips: cleaning, shopping and donating

Sunday is Towel Day, a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams.  Here are some towel cleaning and shopping tips, along with what to do with old towels (hint: don’t throw them out!) Don’t panic and read on.

Washing and drying towels

First, always read and follow the directions on the care tag. If the tag says, “no chlorine,” don’t use it as it may weaken the fibers of the towel.

Wicker laundry basket with two folded towels

Don’t panic! Grab a towel.

Remove musty odors from your towels by washing them in very hot water with one-to-two cups of vinegar. The water must by very hot in order to kill the bacteria causing the smell. Wash them again using one cup of baking soda. Immediately hang them up to dry or dry them in your clothes dryer.

If your washing machine is the source of musty smells, use a cleaner like Affresh, which is designed for HE washers.

Add the proper amount of detergent to your wash. Too much detergent traps odors and dirt and can fade colors.

Skip liquid fabric softener as it will interfere with the towel’s absorbency. Instead, opt for a single scent-free dryer sheet to soften your towels.

Wash new towels separately to avoid lint from transferring onto other items inside the wash.

Mix in some vinegar with your detergent in order to keep new towels looking bright and colorful.

Shopping for new towels

Are you shopping for new towels? Check the label or tag and look for 100% combed cotton, suggests 100% combed cotton towels naturally attracts water and can hold almost 25 times its weight in the liquid. They are also stronger and prevent pilling.

Don’t be deceived by the feel of the towel in-store, most manufacturers add softeners to the finish of a towel, so they feel softer.

What to do with your old towels

If you have kids, spread an old towel underneath your child’s car seat to catch juice spills and crumbs.

Cut them up and use them for cleaning rags and for washing your car.

Make a beach towel tote bag.

Turn them into a bathroom rug mat.

Donate them! Many animal shelters accept clean towels (along with hand towels and wash clothes) for animal bedding, bathing and general clean up. Contact your local animal shelter to find out what donations they accept.

Homeless and women’s shelters also accept used towels. Find a shelter near you.

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